Scotland becomes world first with new legislation to protect the right to free period products
Scotland will become the first country in the world to protect the right to free period products in law when new legislation comes into force on Monday.
The Period Products Act means councils and education providers will be legally required to make free sanitary products available to those who need them.
Since 2017, around £27 million has been spent to provide access in public settings.
The legislation was proposed by Labour MSP Monica Lennon and it was unanimously backed in the Scottish Parliament in 2020.
Ms Lennon said: “I’m proud to have pioneered the Period Products Act which is already influencing positive change in Scotland and around the world.
“Local authorities and partner organisations have worked hard to make the legal right to access free period products a reality.
“I’m grateful to them and the thousands of people who have got involved across the country.
“This is another big milestone for period dignity campaigners and grassroots movements which shows the difference that progressive and bold political choices can make.
“As the cost-of-living crisis takes hold, the Period Products Act is a beacon of hope which shows what can be achieved when politicians come together for the good of the people we serve.”
Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said: “Providing access to free period products is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them.
“This is more important than ever at a time when people are making difficult choices due to the cost of living crisis and we never want anyone to be in a position where they cannot access period products.
“Since 2018, we have delivered ground-breaking action by providing free period products for pupils and students in all our schools, colleges and universities.”
She continued: “We are proud to be the first national government in the world to take such action.
“The work we are doing in Scotland continues to be world leading, going goes beyond provision of free products.
“We have also provided funding for an educational website for employers, run a successful anti-stigma campaign, and improved menstrual health resources available for schools.
“I’m grateful to all the young women and girls who have been crucial in developing the best ways to access products to meet their needs.”
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